The mosque was first built during the time of Umar II ibn ‘Abdulaziz, who was the Umayyad governor of Medina from 706-712 (87-93 AH) and has been renovated several times since, the last major renovation being during the reign of King Fahd (r. 1982–2005), who increased the area of the mosque by many times its original size and added several modern facilities.
The current mosque building was built during the reign of King Fahd. It is in the shape of a square with an area of approximately 6,000 square meters (65,000 ft2) inside a 36,000 m2 (388,000 ft2) square-shaped enclosure. It consists of two sets of galleries separated by a wide yard of approximately 1000 square meters (11,000 ft2). The galleries are shaped as arches ending with long domes. At the center of the mosque is a spring of water housed inside a dome. The portion of the enclosure that does not include the mosque, measuring around 20,000 m2 (216,000 ft2), includes multiple restrooms and areas for changing into ihram and performing wudu. Most of the inner area is pathways, galleries, and trees. All 13 domes are located on the roof of the mosque, while the 5 minarets are located around the enclosure. One of the mosque’s minarets stands distinct from the others, square at the bottom but round at the top in a diagonal shape, rising to a height of 64 meters (210 ft). The mosque is built in an Islamic architectural style, with Mamluk and Byzantine influences.
The Blue Mosque in Istanbul, also known by its official name, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Turkish: Sultan Ahmet Camii), is an Ottoman-era historical imperial mosque in Istanbul, Turkey. A functioning mosque, it also attracts large numbers of tourist visitors. It was constructed between 1609 and 1616 during the rule of Ahmed I. Its Külliye contains Ahmed’s tomb, a madrasah, and a hospice. Hand-painted blue tiles adorn the mosque’s interior walls, and at night the mosque is bathed in blue as lights frame the mosque’s five main domes, six minarets, and eight secondary domes. It sits next to the Hagia Sophia, the principal mosque of Istanbul until the Blue Mosque’s construction, and another popular tourist site. The Blue Mosque was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1985 under the name of “Historic Areas of Istanbul”.
The Blue Mosque has five main domes, six minarets, and eight secondary domes. The design is the culmination of two centuries of Ottoman mosque development. It incorporates many Byzantine elements of the neighboring Hagia Sophia with traditional Islamic architecture and is considered to be the last great mosque of the classical period. The architect, Sedefkâr Mehmed Ağa, synthesized the ideas of his master Sinan, aiming for overwhelming size, majesty, and splendor. The upper area is decorated with approximately 20,000 hand-painted glazed ceramics in 60 different tulip patterns. The lower stories are illuminated by 200 stained glass windows. The mosque is preceded by a forecourt with a large fountain and a special area for ablution. An iron chain hangs in the court entrance on the western side. Only the Sultan was allowed to ride into the mosque on horseback, and he would need to lower his head not to hit the chain, a symbolic gesture ensuring the humility of the ruler before Allah.